One in three remote workers who have left a job say they would have stayed if offered remote or flexible working options, according to a new global study.
As remote work has gone mainstream, employers are having to figure out if and how to rewrite their retention strategies in order to keep their remote talent. A new global study found that 1 in 3 current remote workers say they would have stayed at their old job if they had better remote working options. So - what attracts remote workers, and what makes them stay?
The study was commissioned by SafetyWing, a fully remote company which is on a mission to build the first ‘global social safety net’ for remote workers and teams. They surveyed more than 4,000 in-office and remote workers spanning four continents as part of its Remote Retention whitepaper.
The demand for remote working is unsurprising, as its benefits are numerous. The majority of remote workers have increased their productivity and expanded their skillsets. Almost 3 quarters of remote workers are satisfied with their working environment, compared to 66% of office workers. Meanwhile, 83% of remote workers report feeling more motivated by their flexibility at work, and 78% say they’re motivated by their great work-life balance. Employers spend considerable resources trying to keep employees happy in the office, so companies may increase their operational efficiency by implementing remote or flexible working, and directing those resources elsewhere.
However, remote working is not without its challenges. Half of remote workers say their greatest challenge is mentally switching off after the work day is over, while 47% report struggling with tech and wifi issues. Remote working has the potential to be solitary too, as despite 78% of remote workers reporting they feel motivated by working independently, 39% report feeling lonely.
But these factors are not isolated to remote working, and many workers decided to go remote to remedy issues they faced in the office. More than half of survey respondents reported achieving a better work-life balance as a reason they decided to switch to remote working, and 38% did it to improve their mental well being.
The survey also revealed that 86% of remote workers value ‘benefits and perks’ as a key consideration when choosing a new job.
Despite this, less than half of full-time remote workers have access to health insurance, while just 28% have retirement plans, and only 31% have parental leave. Most shockingly, nearly a quarter of full-time remote workers report having no benefits at all.
Sondre Rasch, co-founder and CEO of SafetyWing, said: “The remote worker represents a new workforce, and it’s vital to understand what makes them choose a company and what makes them stay. With the knowledge our survey provides, employers can create a better workplace and employees can have a great time at work.”
Other key findings from the survey include the fact that over a quarter of remote workers left their previous company because of a lack of training and development opportunities, highlighting the importance of prioritising the career development of remote employees.
In a similar vein, increased flexibility available to remote workers should also be balanced with appropriate operational support and collaboration opportunities. In line with predictions from several business experts, 42% of remote workers surveyed report that collaborating with colleagues remotely is a challenge.
Salary still remains the most important driving factor for remote workers when choosing their employer, especially in the context of economic downturn, but work/life balance is a close second - with benefits and the company’s reputation not far behind.